Throughout 15 years of coaching and regardless of the nature of the organization, the one single concern that is questioned by both prospects and clients is the extent to which an external coach will bring sustainable results. They are referring to results that will continue well beyond the time the initial work that is done with an individual or a team in an organization. Whereas all know that sustainable results is what they do want, they also know that they do not want to embark on and invest in something that becomes a flavor of the month. Too often they feel that they have done just this in the past and the result is simply frustrating to say nothing of an unsatisfactory investment.
This is a valid concern and one worthy of addressing at the same time one considers embarking on the
coaching adventure. Knowing that you totally understand and support the importance of maintaining the changes brought about through the coached approach you might ask, whose job is it to maintain the changes that have taken place? This has a two-fold answer.
Coaching is focused on bringing about changes that will benefit the individual and the organization. In doing this it comes to altering patterns and habits that have created a place of ‘stuck’ and work against us in being able to be more productive and effective in our jobs. In other words … we are often changing the ways that we think, act and typically the approach that we have created. Like change of any kind, this is not an easy adjustment.
Considering this from the standpoint of the one being coached, sustainability …
- Requires a commitment to stay their new course
The changes accomplished reflect a new attitude and mindset. Until this becomes their comfort zone, it will require a concentrated effort to maintain them and avoid regressing. The coachee likes what they have achieved and does want to remain on their new path.
- Requires that they embrace their new normal as outside of their comfort zone
Quite typical of any change, it’s the resistance to being uncomfortable that tends to keep us in an unproductive and limiting place
- Requires that they identify an accountability buddy
Someone that they charge with the task of helping them remain on their revised track in very specific ways and are willing to call them out when they witness a step backward.
- Requires that they seek and receive frequent feedback
Knowing how they are doing in terms of staying the course that they and management want and need them to be on.
Considering this from the standpoint of the management, sustainability …
- Needs the leader to willingly lead from behind … in the role of the coach
Rather than telling them what and the how to accomplish a job, reinforce the coaching … by coaching. Ask and listen to how they intend to approach and accomplish the job at hand. Turn any tendency of guiding the process to guiding and encouraging the thinking.
- Needs to recognize and encourage continual efforts to stay the course
The recognition from management as to positive alterations that have been made are a huge booster to encouraging continued changes
- Needs to accept the importance of needed accountability
Holding the report accountable to stay the path is key to maintaining the changes realized. This is what enabled her/him to successfully work with their coach and remains a key aspect of sustained change.
Making a decision to bring coaching into an organization is always a big decision on the part of those making it. And because of wanting to avoid a ‘flavor of the month’ and desire to have sustainable impact, coaching is the first step. Continuing the changes in mindset and attitude is key to this becoming the new reality. The most successful organizations that employ the coaching tool are those that recognize and accept the changes required at all levels within. It’s a need that does not make the job harder. Rather, success to the individual, team and manager becomes easier … and sustainable! Conclusion? Embrace the responsibility of those within an organization to maintain the new paths to success and you’ll need to visit your local ice cream store to enjoy a flavor of the month.